PARRY SOUND – The Ontario government is providing $18,671 to help Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. conduct a market analysis on an underused wood supply in the French-Severn Forest. The investment will support the forest industry and drive economic growth and job creation in the Parry Sound region.

“Our government is proud to support Ontario’s forest sector, enhance business operations and boost competitiveness in the Parry Sound region,” said Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to stimulate economic growth and ensure Northern Ontario businesses can thrive, expand and prosper.”

The market analysis will examine methods to improve wood supply use and create local forest sector jobs. Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. will work with Magnetawan First Nation, and other local First Nations, municipalities, and industry partners to identify and assess potential economic opportunities.

“Thanks to Ontario government support, we are excited about exploring identified opportunities associated with low-end wood fibre in our region that could lead to the development of niche forestry-related businesses with Indigenous communities and local forest operators,” said Steve Munro, Projects Manager, Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. “Ultimately, we are seeking to help diversify the regional economy and create jobs for local residents.”

Located in Parry Sound, Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. is a non-profit forest management company that holds the Sustainable Forest Licence (SFL) for the French-Severn Forest. As the license holder for the forest, the company is responsible for timber harvest planning.

“Our government’s targeted investments are helping local non-profits create jobs, stay competitive, and attract new investment,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Investments such as these create tangible positive effects in our communities. We will continue to find ways to create economic prosperity while providing real opportunities for northerners.”

Funding for the project is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects—big and small, rural and urban—that stimulate growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $414 million in 3,934 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.4 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 6,000 jobs.